Roommates are an essential part of college life. A roommate can be a good friend, a close confidant or your worst enemy. Living with a disorganized roommate can be a daunting task. Here are seven tips to help you deal with that messy roommate.

1. Set a clear standard of cleanliness

Make sure your roommate knows how clean you expect your apartment to be. Different people have different hygiene standards. It’s important to get on the same page when it comes to cleanliness. Discuss the issue with them. Maybe they don’t feel as though they’re being messy.

2. Lead by example

There is nothing worse than having a roommate get mad at you for something and then turning around and doing the same thing. If a clean kitchen or bedroom is really important to you, then make an effort to keep your things clean as well. If your belongings are organized, then your roommate will eventually realize that the mess in entirely theirs.

3. Be straightforward

Don’t beat around the bush. Clearly discuss what you want with that roommate and see if you guys can compromise and come to a solution you are both comfortable with. Avoid passive aggressive notes and discussing that roommate with others. The problem will be solved faster if you go directly to the roommate with your concerns.

4. Hold an apartment meeting

An apartment meeting is a great opportunity for roommates to openly discuss their expectations and figure out solutions to problems they may not be addressing. Take time to discuss and write up a roommate agreement, and make sure each roommate has a printed copy of the agreement. Regularly hold these meetings to keep the issues discussed relevant and to maintain that standard of living.

5. Assign tasks

Once your roommate understands what is acceptable and what isn’t, assign tasks. Clearly outline what each person is responsible for. This way, you don’t leave room for misunderstanding.

6. Implement a fine or penalty

Once roommates are all on the same page on what is expected, have a penalty if someone falls short. Enforcing repercussions for not cleaning can be a great way to encourage your roommate to clean. A penalty fee for unwashed dishes or a messy bathroom can save you a lot of trouble and is a fair system once implemented.

7. Clean together

Make cleaning a group activity. Hardly anyone enjoys doing things alone. Most of the time we enjoy others’ company. So if dirty clothes are cluttering the floor of your apartment, then make laundry time roommate bonding time.